Fiona Alderman’s Blog: Filming in France

France is one of the most widely used countries as a favourite location for films and has hosted International Directors in the last years such as Ridley Scott, Woody Allen, Christopher Nolan and Christopher McQuarrie.

The Last Duel by  Ridley Scott, who filmed in our area last year using our nearby Chateau Fenelon, has just been released at our local cinema in Sarlat with great acclaim. Welcoming Hollywood stars such as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and using over 600 extras locally, it boosted the economy even before lockdowns came to town.Ridley Scott, who owns a house in the Luberon area, had already filmed Gladiator in France.


Woody Allen, too a great Francophile, has filmed in Paris for Minuit a Paris and also in the Cote d’Azur for Magic in the Moonlight. One of the many films on the Liberation of France during the Second World War was Dunkerque, which Christopher Nolan directed in 2016 , using real wartime destroyers on the sea.  Using 6000 extras and 450 technicians from the local area, it was a massive  production. Two years later Tom Cruise would film Mission Impossible in Paris, the 6th in the series, which was a tribute to La Ville Lumiere; the director Christopher McQuarrie had a record 25 millions of euros budget.

The famous director Wes Anderson, who is well noted for his celebrated castings, took over the town of Angouleme in the Charente region, to film The French Dispatch, which had been the centre for American journalists during the 1950’s. The film is meticulous in design and decor, using great animation as well as famous actors such as Bill Murray, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton and many illustrious French stars. A huge budget of over 25 million dollars and again a boost for the economy and local talent. This film will be released at the end of October, 2021 here, and already the trailers have me intrigued.

dordogne chateau

(Image:Dordogne Chateau “Dordogne Chateau” by Drumsara is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

No wonder, that all over France films are being made every year – the spectacular scenery, the historic buildings, the sense of pure style which is unique. Something soooo very French?

Paris wrapped

Last month visitors to Paris would have had a surprise walking down the Champs Elysees, to see the iconic Arc de Triomphe all wrapped up in a silver fabric. The inspiration and long held dream of two artists Christo and his wife Jean Claude. The idea began as early as 1961, but it took until 2017 to realize and also after the death of Jean Claude. Sadly Christo died last year, but a team of his plus help from the Centre de Monuments Nationaux and the City of Paris funded and set up this great installation. With 25,000 sq metres of silvery fabric  wrapped around the monument with 7,000 metres of red rope, everything was recyclable. It gently blows in the wind and people are encouraged to touch it. Only temporary ,however, a mere 16 days, it looks strange and at the same time imposing. I remember climbing up to the top many years ago when on holiday and the view was spectacular but the actual building and sculptures are historic and reminiscent of  the War.

serpentine lake london

Serpentine Lake, London. “Christo Mastaba” by holgi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The two artists were famed for their “wrapping”work, from le Pont Neuf again in Paris, to the Serpentine lake in London, using over 7000 coloured barrels. Of course, the  Reichstag in Berlin was a famous work, as well as the Surrounded Isles in Florida and a vast curtain effect between the deep valleys of Colorado.

They both believed that their mission was to have complete artistic freedom and both were passionate in their combined dream to wrap up famous buildings all around the world.

Time for tea


“CBD Oil” by hpr220 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I was invited for tea and cake one afternoon with a French friend recently. She is a lovely character that I have known for quite a few years here in Salignac. She bakes cakes for a living and is very busy always trying out new recipes. Her husband is an eager taster, and so am I! This afternoon was slightly different though. Little golden cookies were placed before me. I asked what they were, as I couldn’t discern what they were. CBD, she told me. Yes, little cannabis cakes!!
Cannabidiol, is the proper name, which is an extract of the cannabis plant, then is diluted  with a carrier oil such as hemp seed or coconut. They tasted nice but I think it was in my mind that I might have some side effects. No, none at all. I won’t go into details about what CBD is used for now, but our local tabac sells it and as Anne Marie told me, she gets hers from a shop in Sarlat that is totally centered around all its products. Doing great business too!

Well, we sat outside in the late afternoon sun in her beautiful garden and I went back home to tell Barry. He was surprised to hear about my unusual afternoon tea.

That’s all for this month. Fifi’s Stories from rural France.
October 2021.
Salignac Foundation for short courses in dance and film resume 2022.





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Fiona Alderman Blogging from Rural France - A Change of Scene

This section: Fiona Alderman blogging from The Salignac Foundation France

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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